John Ebenezer West (1863-1929) was born in London, where he studied organ with Sir Fredercik Bridge and composition with his uncle, Ebenezer Prout at the Royal Academy of Music. He served as organist at St. Mary's, Berkeley Square (1884-1891), South Hackney Parish Church (1897) and St. Augustine's, Queens Gate. In 1885 he joined Novello & Co., where he became musical editor and adviser in 1897. This position gave my great influence over the company's entire programme of new publications. He also was the editor a 36-volume collection of 16-18th century organ music entitled: "Old English Organ Music Series".
His own works include organ music for liturgical and concert usage, as well as sacred choral works and orchestral music.
During his lifetime, West was a highly esteemed and successful composer, and this was particularly due to his feeling for the "Romantic style." Contemporaries placed his music very "close to that of Edward Elgar," and a there are many "Elgarian touches" in his works.
Well I "knew or had" many of these pieces laying around, MANY THANKS to Carson Cooman for sending me a copy of a new grouping of them! ;-)
I tried to perform these works in a "not highly worked out style" - meaning, as I would play them "for a service", and not in a manner that is overly "fussy or worked out". Most of them used the "normal English cathedral graded piston" approach, as you'll see. All of them are pure organ music - conceived for and perfect on the English organ.
There are two more lrager works in the collection, that I hope to upload soon.
"A Lament" is not a mournful dirge, but rather a sad song. It is lyric and serious, and shows West at his best. The work features the "tolling of a funeral bell" and perhaps "muffled drums" at the end, played on the 32' Open Wood.